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10 months PostOp AxiaLIF--problems and chiro wants to adjust my SI

Leamomof3LLeamomof3 Posts: 22
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Lower Back Pain

I'm fairly new to the forum. I have a friend who's a chiro.

I had the AxiaLIF done in Oct. 09 with terrible results. (If any one else has had this procedure-I'd love to hear their story) I'm in a lot of pain every single day. Nobody seems to know why. My catscan postop at 3 months didn't show anything. Screws are in place but yet, I'm still in so much pain. Right glute, right leg, lower lumbar, and right hip. I still do my exercises each & everyday that were shown to me in PT. I take a small amount of Tramadol and that's pretty much it. When I tell my PM Dr. that I need something a lot stronger, they act like I'm asking for a kidney. I don't know how much longer I can do this or I'm going to have to self medicate and that's not something I care or want to do. How do I get my point across?

My chiro wants to adjust my SI. Um, I'm SO not comfortable with this. Couldn't that hurt me even worse? I can't even imagine someone touching my lower back let alone pushing/cracking it. Omg, I shudder even thinking about it. He insists that's what my problem is. I don't feel it is. To me, it feels more like nerve pain. Very much so.

Opinions/thoughts any one? My chiro/friend wants to adjust me on Friday, but I'm not comfortable with it.

Thanks so much everyone and I hope you're all having a good day.



  • now, I'm not saying every chiropracter causes problems, but from my own experience, even though the one I used 5 years ago got me walking upright after a herniated disc, which I thought was brilliant at the time - I still firmly believe that the sciatica I experienced after a week of visiting him every day may not have happened otherwise.

    I cannot prove this, but suffice to say, I would not visit a chiropracter again. I found the pushing/pulling/twisting to be quite painful and very uncomfortable, and when I told my doctor later that I thought it was a case of 'no pain, no gain', he was horrified. Basically, he said that if you have an ongoing back problem, then anything that causes it extra pain should really be avoided.

    He suggested that possibly an osteopath would have been a safer option in my case - but everyone is different.

    If you have any hesitation or doubts, then please think carefully about whether this is going to help or hinder you. Perhaps other people will give their views and maybe you could research this on the internet before you see him. Also, the fact that he's a personal friend might make it difficult for you to say 'no' - could you not rebook an appointment at a later date to give you more time to think about it and make your final decision either way?

    Let us know how you get on OK?
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Hey Sue, thanks for your reply.

    He is a dear friend of mine that is coming into town from NC. He's not my normal chiro, but has always adjusted me when he's back for visits. So, I do not have an appt. with him other than getting together as friends, so I certainly can cancel this "popping".. lol

    All I know is I would love to feel better. Either give me some stronger meds until I can afford to get this hardware removed or SOMETHING. I DO have to work everyday, so it's pretty miserable. However, I was more miserable being at home. At least working keeps me busy. I do have to get up a lot during the day and take short walks.

    This AXIALIF procedure has been a nightmare for me. Is there a different board on SpineHealth where perhaps I could get others postop results from this surgery? There's not a whole lot of research out there about this. I was told it's this new miraculous procedure and I'd only be off work for 2 weeks tops. WRONG! I was off for 10 weeks and was still told not to come back to work, but I had to due to financial reasons.

  • I still have back pain. Enough to have to take pain meds. My axialif was 20 months ago. At first there was relief from constant pain. Then months later i noticed the main screw popped when I moved a certain way. The last few months I'm having even more pain. I noticed this morning that the place over one facet screw hurts like a bad bruise when I press on it. The Dr. is having me come in for xrays in several months. Has anyone else had anything like this?
  • LeAnne,

    NO!!! Don't let any chiro touch your lumbar. I don't care if he is your buddy or not. I have an AxiaLIF at L5-S1. A successful one! Which from what I have gathered is about a 50-50 shot. My surgeon has told me no chiro, period. For at least 2 years. He wants my fusion solid as rock. After 1 year it looks very good. But he wants no manipulation. Massage therapy, sure. Traction, adjustments, bending the spine backwards, no way.

    Here is my journal more or less, please read/skim it.


    Daimar you might want to read it too.

    The more I read about these failed procedures. The more suspect I am of the surgeons, patients, procedures. I'm suspect of the hardware now too and have been trying to find more info all over the net.

    I don't have a lot of time at the moment to get into it. But not everyone is a candidate for AxiaLIF. Just because you need L5-S1 fixed doesn't mean AxiaLIF should be used. I'm also finding that half or more of the surgeons doing it have very few of these surgeries under their belts. Like with any new procedure, the first batches are guinea pigs. My surgeon has a few years under his belt doing them. A few hundred of them.

    I'm seeing about half the people who post have success and the other half have bad failures. That makes no sense that it is the hardware alone. But still makes it suspect also.

    I'm 1 year out so my statements are based on my results personally then what I read from other patients. I don't just trust the word of my doctor or Trans1. Unfortunately most of the success stories never even show up on sites like this. So it's hard to gauge the real numbers.

  • I'm with Graham - chiro is really a no-no with spine problems.

    As to the AxiaLIF procedure, I've seen a few successful ones one here. Graham is one and has put up a link to his story, but if you go to the top of the page in the blue box and put in AxiaLIF in the search box, you'll find other members that discuss their procedures as well. I think JHowie is one of them.

    Take care and please keep us posted.
  • I will try to keep this brief but I wanted to share my experience. I had the Axialif procedure 11/2008. About six months after my surgery my pain came back and grew expediently. After several x-rays that seemed to show nothing wrong I went back to PT for the third time. It was there that the therapist noticed that the inflammation just wouldn’t go away. I finally got flexion/extension x-rays and a CT myleogram. Not only was my screw loose but it was working its way out of the L5 vertebra. The orthopedic surgeon who performed the procedure (he was among the earliest trained to use this device) informed me that he has stopped offering axialif due to the high failure rate. He said that across the country it is showing similar results and other surgeons have stopped offering it as well. He had revised several already with more patients like me coming back with problems. This was extremely disconcerting and I am actually curious to find other people who have had failures to see if there’s something to it. Because of the location of the screw at that point, I opted to seek a neurosurgeon for a second opinion. He also confirmed that this procedure is going the way of the dodo. The best chance of achieving a fusion was to perform an anterior approach to remove the screw and place a cage and plate then finish with a posterior approach to place pedicle screws. I am on the mend now and everything is looking good so far. It’s only been eight weeks so I still have a long recovery. I can’t even start physical therapy until the three month mark.

    I am not saying this is what is going on with you LeAnne, especially if your CTs are clear. But I know the feeling of the right leg pain and having to get up several times a day to move. You and Daimar were both curious of people’s experiences so that’s mine for what it’s worth. Your post was a few months ago… how are things now?

    Daimar, I would ask your doctor about the flexion/extension x-rays. They will show if there’s any movement of the screw while plain uprights will not. That may be a cause for your discomfort. I also had cracking and popping of my lower back, what felt like was right around the screw, for a long time. Cracking it was the only thing that relieved this horrendous constant pressure. I am in no way an expert nor do I know anything more than my own experience. I don’t want to scare anyone just want to share my story and if there are people out there who have had/are having the same problems to reassure that they are not alone.

    Like you Graham, I have been scouring the web trying to find some more information about the Axialif procedure. There’s not much. If you have any information you would like to share I would be interested. Unfortunately you are right, the bad stories always get told tenfold more than the good. I wish mine could have been a success story. Hopefully it will be now!
  • nikeecho,

    Very interesting info. I have not heard this explanation before but it sounds reasonable. Did you get the 2 facet screws or anything with your axial bolt? According to Trans1 they show using 2 facet screws. Which are really only there to stabilize the spine while bone fuses around the axial bolt. My surgeon said that caused problems in some patients and he went with traditional hardware in the back. 4 screws and 2 rods. So my fusion is not as Trans1 intended. It is an AxiaLIF with the equivalent of a TLIF in the back.

    Interestingly ALL of my xrays have been with flexion and extension along with standing straight. He had me get several over the past year. So he knew what he was looking for. All he told me was he was making sure there was no movement. He didn't go into any detail ever about the Axial bolt moving. The final exam was the same type of xray followed up with a CT Scan. He said there is no movement of any hardware. He showed me fusion taking place. There is no cracking visible anywhere.

    What is weird is I understand your comment about having to get up and move several times a day. I do that every day. I just assumed that goes with hardware. I also stretch, exercise, and walk. A year out I get some pain down my leg. Not like prior to surgery though. That was horrible nerve pain before. This is just weird. He told me it would take 2 years for the final outcome.

    I asked about removing the screws and rods since the Axial bolt was supposed to be solid now and bone was fusing. He refuses to take them out. I get some muscle spasm pain in my leg. Some back ache when I sit too long. I work behind a desk. So I sit way too much.

    I'd definitely like to talk to you about this. Your original ortho may very well be on to something. I've tried to contact Trans1 since they are in my back yard. They are not interested in talking to me now like they said earlier. According to them 8,000 AxiaLif surgeries have been performed. I've found maybe 10 happy people and 10 complaints. Either is too small a sample out of 8.000. If those numbers are true.

  • I had my surgery Jan. 2009. I to have the 4 screw and 2 rods with the axis bolt. L5/S1. I still have pain in my back and down my left leg, feels like muscles spasms. My doctor also refuses to remove the hardware. I still take pain meds everyday. I wish that I didn't have to.
    My life is very different now. There are alot of things that I am afraid to do. I feel so bad for my kids, because I can't do the things I did before. I am a new Grandma, she is 10 months old now and I can't lift her or carry her. At 42 years old there are still alot of things in life for me to do.
  • Hi Amanda, Sorry to hear about your operation. I too, have had several operations, one most recent this past 12/2/2010 fused right s.i. joint with 3 rods, which is going real well. Taking very little meds, but my best medicine, being a father, grandfather and greatgrandfather. I tell my grandkids, 3-6, that when pop pop needs to feel better his best meds are kisses and hugs, and I feel so much better. I hope this makes you feel better, hang in there, talk to you soon. Ken
  • Hi, my name is Barry. I had AxialIF 1 level done on April 28 2010. Ultra Severe pain running down back, side and front of right & left leg. Also Hip, groin, and lower abdomen not to mention the Worsening ultra severe lower back pain where the facet screws are located. My surgeon, Has taken 1 x-ray and one cat scan during the first 9 months and then proclaimed the surgery a success. Before the surgery his "goal" for the outcome was the same as mine - the reduction or elimination of one dime size spot of 24 hour a day bad pain in an area that i now know is the top of the sacroiliac joint. Now my legs are moving from ultra severe pain to numbness as i become paralyzed. My primary care doctor and the physiatrist that my surgeon sent me to have claimed they don't know how to right an order for MRI or cat scan or x-ray because the are not familiar with the surgery. (just got off phone with surgeon - he wants me to wait until i see him on sept 21.12 to see if i need an Mri.) The denial and cover-up continues. Not a single doctor that performs the axialIF procedure in the Boston area will make an appointment with me. Its been almost 2 1/2 years since operation and i will call lawer tomorrow. I know leAnne was wondering if anyone was having similar trouble............I guess the answer is yes. Thanks for listening folks, Barry
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